Funding Boost for COVID-19 Research

The Australian Government is backing several Australian research projects aimed at finding breakthrough treatments, diagnostics and – the ultimate – a vaccine in the fight against COVID-19.

Our Government has allocated $10.4 million for 13 early stage biomedical projects through Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program, which forms part of the landmark Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Five of them are COVID-19 research projects receiving $4.1 million. A key project, conducted by the University of Melbourne, involves developing an innovative ventilated hood for patients in isolation.

The Hood provides better respiratory treatment for patients, reducing the need for invasive ventilation, and also gives hospital staff greater protection from COVID-19, reducing viral levels in the immediate surroundings.

The novel hood is effective, comfortable, reusable and can be rapidly improved for urgent supply to Australian hospitals, clinics, GP surgeries, and beyond. A smaller, mobile version under development will have significant health benefits in developing countries and for patient transport.

Other COVID-19 research projects include a vaccine candidate being developed in South Australia, a new treatment for respiratory complications of COVID-19, a preventive nasal spray, and a rapid response test to predict how severely the disease will progress.

The remaining eight projects, receiving $6.3 million, will help patients of the future with new treatments and diagnostics for conditions such as muscular dystrophy, breast cancer, metabolic and fibrotic disease, prostate cancer, ataxia, antimicrobial resistance and the Zika virus.

Industry partners have contributed a further $28 million to the 13 projects, complementing our Government’s investment of $10.4 million – this means a total of $38.4 million is being invested into the biomedical sector.

The BTB is a four year $22.3 million MRFF program, operated by MTPConnect.

It helps researchers transform their ideas into new treatments to help tomorrow’s patients. These investments are from the second and third rounds of the BTB program.

Research is a key weapon in the fight against COVID-19.

The emphasis of the BTB program is on rapid translation of ideas into new products and treatments that will make a real difference to patients, both in Australia and globally.

Research is also about jobs and exports – which is particularly important as we tackle both the social and economic disruption of the pandemic to our lives and livelihoods.

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